It seemed like the ideal summer evening to watch a movie On Demand, so I settled on the couch with a glass of lemonade and programmed the DVR to watch the movie version of one of my favorite books, "The Lorax."
What a mistake! I should have sent the $4.99 to the park district to help save a tree and to save myself a lot of aggravation.
I think I speak for the trees in a small way through volunteer work with the Tiffin Tree Commission, the Seneca County Park District and the Master Gardeners. Dr. Seuss spoke for the trees in a very big way when he wrote "The Lorax," but the translation to film did nothing to promote his message.
I realize expanding a book of 55 pages to a movie that lasts 86 minutes and entertains as well as informs adults and children is a tall order. But it worked for "The Grinch."
"The Lorax" is a mish-mash. New characters Ted and Audrey, the villain Aloysius O'Hare and his henchmen, and the extended family of the Onceler overwhelm the sweet, simple story. Even Ted's Granny who sets the hunt for a Truffula tree in motion is a caricature of a senior with missing dentures and a head full of grey pincurls. And, of course, she is fat.
Most of the action takes place in the Outside, an area of murky, navy blue mountains and craggy granite peaks supporting some ruins where the Onceler lives. The occasional sight of Seuss's pre-Thneedville setting is lovely, but the Brown Barb-a-Loots and Humming-Fish who live there are demeaned.
And I won't even start on the almost total lack of the original charming poetry with its easy rhymes and quiet message.
Did you gather I was disappointed in this film?
The message of the Lorax is so important in the modern world as native woodlands and forests are disappearing at an alarming rate, and as the Lorax says:
Unless someone like you
Cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better.
There is much that can be done for trees at the local level.
A number of people have expressed concern (verging on rage) about the removal of many trees in the downtown area. Unfortunately, the wrong trees had been planted when the streetscape was started and, instead of growing to the desired height of 10 feet or so, they just kept growing until they over-topped the second story of buildings, covering windows and signs.
After stump removal, Ivory Silk lilacs will be planted in those spaces. Just imagine the sight and scent in the spring.
Another initiative has residents and businesses planting and maintaining landscaping downtown and at city entrances, in cooperation with the flower baskets provided by Tiffin Tomorrow.
NORWESCO has been generous with a donation of flowers, and in spite of the dry summer, things are blooming.
Tiffin City Parks and Seneca County nature preserves appreciate the monetary and volunteer support of many people. Both organizations have been forced to spend a lot of their resources eliminating ash trees because of the deadly Emerald Ash Borer, but all those trees eventually will be replaced with other, varied species.
Tiffin Shade Tree and Beautification Commission, in cooperation with Tiffin City Parks, continues its Living Legacy Program, which gives friends and families the opportunity to plant a tree in a city park in the memory of a deceased loved one. A plaque on the sign in Hedges-Boyer Park gives the name of the person for whom the legacy is given. In this case, the trees speak for us.
Dr. Seuss ended his book on a hopeful note, telling us trees are what everyone needs, and asking us to plant a new tree:
Treat it with care.
Give it clean water and feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax
And all of his friends
May come back.
Janet Del Turco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener program. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.